Keswick is home to a Cumberland sausage recipe which is more than 120 years old and has found fame in New York.
Steve Clark co-owns The Kingfisher fish and chip restaurant in Keswick’s Main Street with his twin brother Andrew.
Their father ran a shop in Station Street called Michael’s Butchers, from 1984 to 2006.
Steve and Andy took on The Kingfisher 10 years ago, and Steve has been making Cumberland sausages for the shop at his butcher’s unit in High Hill for the past eight years.
“After my dad retired in 2006, I wanted a fresh challenge, so I went to work on a deer farm near Penrith. That’s where I learned to butcher meat,” said Steve.
He said the opportunity to take on running The Kingfisher was offered to the brothers by a friend their dad had known all his life.
“In early 2010, Mick Taylor, who owns the Old Keswickian fish and chip shop, asked if we wanted to take on this business.
“When we started here, we kept getting asked about the Cumberland sausage from my dad’s butcher’s.
“I would make it at the deer farm and then bring it over to The Kingfisher.
“Now, we sell the Cumberland sausages in the chip shop, in Keswick guest houses, and at hotels like Morrel’s who use them for breakfasts. The Square Orange even use the sausages to make meatballs.”
The secret recipe comes from Peter Myers, a butcher who moved to New York to set up his own English deli, Myers of Keswick, and who was a good friend of Steve and Andy’s dad.
Steve added: “In the mid-90s, I went out to New York to learn about making pork pies from Peter.
“He had started selling Cumberland sausages in the US, but wanted someone in Keswick to have his authentic recipe. He was Keswick born and bred.
“Peter taught me very well because, in 2003, years after I came home from New York, we won a pork pie competition in Yorkshire,” said Steve.
Peter inherited his Cumberland sausage recipe from his grandfather, William Mather Myers.
“William Myers bought a butcher’s shop at 8, Station Street from Tom Pait in the early 1900s,” said Steve.
“In those days, when you bought a butcher’s shop in Cumbria, you also bought the shop’s Cumberland sausage recipe, so the recipe is at least 120 years old.”
Steve said that when he was in New York, Peter taught him the secret recipe.
“Peter set up Myer’s of Keswick in July, 1985. The Cumberland sausages took a while to get off the ground,” he said. “He started with a shop in Greenwich Village but was soon selling to customers from all around Manhattan.
“He gave me the recipe and told me not to give it to anyone else. All I’ll tell you about it is a true Cumberland sausage should have a peppery edge to it.”
Steve made a customised recipe Cumberland sausage and mash for his sister Louisa’s wedding in 2004.
“I made a sausage for her which was based on the original Cumberland but with added extras. Some people at the wedding, including Louisa’s husband Ian, kept asking for it afterwards and we’ve been selling it here ever since,” he said.
He added: “Peter has the same passion for sausages as me and my dad. Now he is living in Keswick, we often go out on road trips round Cumbria to try other sausages. Peter will tell you he’s tried every one in Europe, but ours is the best, no doubt.”
Peter’s daughter Jenny now runs the business in New York.